Made In South Milwaukee: Expansion Underway For Downtown Apparel And Graphic Design Company

The latest in a regular series.

To me, the future of downtown South Milwaukee lies with the owners of small, locally owned businesses who provide a product or service you simply can’t get at a big box store or shopping mall. It rests with young entrepreneurs like Kyle Werra and Steve Welk.

Kyle and Steve own Styled Aesthetic at 918 Milwaukee Ave.

It’s a unique business that you may better know as the Rocket Shop, where you can purchase wearables and other South Milwaukee-themed items. But it’s also a thriving screen printing business, with clients including auto racing teams, national corporate clients and your local pub.

Both parts of the business are growing.

First, they are planning to expand and renovate the Rocket Shop to create a more inviting retail space. Work will be done in the next six months. They’ve also expanded their product line and store hours (it’s now open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays and 10-5 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with new Black Friday and Small Business Saturday hours coming up later this month).

And earlier this month, Styled Aesthetic announced a partnership with the school district where it would sell its clothing at the Orbit store at South Milwaukee High School.

Then there is the screen printing business. Kyle and Steve are adding a third printing press and a second dryer at their downtown location, as they ramp up production.

One cool customer of theirs: Dr. McDreamy. Fans of “Grey’s Anatomy” get the reference. Styled Aesthetic provides wearables and an online retail outlet for Dempsey Racing, the pursuit of the former TV star better known as Derek Shepherd (before he died on the show earlier this year).

Not bad for a business that started in Kyle’s basement shortly after both he and Steve were attending Franklin High School.

From their website …

Playing pool, listening to music, making fun of everything (including ourselves), wanting to have a cool Pabst t-shirt for a bar crawl and a strong desire to be our own boss are the main reasons we started a company.

Our story begins in 2006 three years before Styled Aesthetic was incorporated. After designing a shirt for a pub crawl Kyle found it difficult to find a screen printer who would print the shirt.  Rather than change the design he purchased a screen printing press and ran the shirt himself. The one color press quickly turned into a 4 color press for the next year’s more elaborate design, which led to small screen printing jobs for friends and family.

In the late winter of 2007 Kyle and Steve started talking about starting a business (while on a holiday pub crawl of course). With Steve’s background in marketing and sales and Kyle’s design background and growing knowledge of screen printing, a screen printing and design business was a natural fit. After months of planning Styled Aesthetic was born in January of 2009 in the basement of Kyle’s house in Franklin, Wisconsin.

From our humble beginnings we have grown out of the basement to a 2,800 square foot shop in South Milwaukee. We now have 7 employees and customers that span the continental United States from a diverse group of industries and companies.

And they are now proudly Made in South Milwaukee.

Check them out on the web and Facebook.

3 Comments

Filed under Downtown, Local Business, South Milwaukee

3 responses to “Made In South Milwaukee: Expansion Underway For Downtown Apparel And Graphic Design Company

  1. I absolutely love stories of entrepreneurial drive and success. Our great city of South Milwaukee should proudly support Steve & Kyle! I wish you continued success.

  2. Peggy

    Not only does Styled Aesthetic print for the SM Rockets, but are now undertaking the printing of Rawson Wolves spirit wear for Rawson Elementary!

  3. SM Guy

    Good luck, guys! Great story about how the business was founded. They couldn’t get what they wanted so instead of whining or filing lawsuits, they started a business. Great job!

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